Thanks to its beautiful themes and a helpful website builder, Squarespace is a reliable hosting choice for many.
However, when it comes to flexibility, pricing, and flat-out customizability, it's no match to the power of WordPress.
Whatever the reason you've decided to abandon Squarespace for greener WordPress pastures, I'm here to help you out. These are the steps you need to take to move from Squarespace to WordPress:
- Step 1: Sign up for an account with a WordPress compatible web host
- Step 2: Install WordPress on your server
- Step 3: Export your Squarespace site content
- Step 4: Import your Squarespace content
- Step 5: Add Images from your Squarespace content
- Step 6: Add extra content
1. Sign up for an account with a WordPress compatible web host
Before you can migrate Squarespace to WordPress, you need to create a WordPress site.
Squarespace is an all-inclusive hosting and site building service whereas WordPress is a content management system (CMS). Effectively, that means Squarespace will build and host your site, but WordPress requires a separate hosting service.
Note: in this article, we're talking about WordPress.org; the less commonplace version and less powerful WordPress.com, is another story entirely.
Therefore, to start a WordPress site, you'll need to sign up for a hosting plan with a WordPress compatible provider. The majority of web hosts are WordPress-friendly these days, but it's still worth taking your time to consider your options as some hosts are better optimized to handle WordPress than others.
One of the best options is Hostinger which is a very inexpensive service that offers 1-click WordPress installation. Its customer service team is trained to deal with WordPress issues making it a decent choice if you aren't very tech-savvy.
With a bigger plan you will also get a free domain name registration - so you can take the one you've had with Squarespace, and move it to your WordPress site. Or of course, you can use a third-party registrar.
2. Install WordPress on your server
Once you've signed up to a hosting plan and registered a domain, the next step is to install WordPress on your server. If you chose to use Hostinger, WordPress will be added to your server automatically. However, with some hosts, you will need to add WordPress manually through your server's control panel.
To do that, log in to your control panel using the credentials you set when you opened your hosting account. Then find and click the WordPress icon, which will probably be located under a heading like 'Auto-installer scripts'.
You may also need to choose an "Auto Installer" or "Installer" section to find a WordPress download link. It varies from panel to panel.
But once you find the icon, all you'll need is to follow the on-screen instructions and soon enough, you should be able to access the WordPress admin dashboard:
3. Export your Squarespace site content
Here's the deal: you can't export your entire Squarespace website automatically. But the good news is that it's possible to extract all of the following parts of your site in a single click.
- Basic, text-only pages
- Gallery pages
- Blog pages (which will appear as WordPress posts)
- Images, embedded, and text content blocks
As other types of Squarespace content will not be added, precisely how much of your content can be extracted via the Squarespace exporter will depend on the design of your Squarespace site.
To start the export process, in your Squarespace account head to the settings menu. Open the advanced section and select 'Import/ Export':
In the subsequent menu, select 'Export'. A pop up will then appear, select the WordPress icon:
When Squarespace has finished generating your export file, click the download button to save it to your computer:
4. Import your Squarespace Content
Once you've saved your Squarespace content file in a memorable folder directory, it's time to import it to your WordPress server. To do that, return to your WordPress dashboard. In the 'tools' section of the sidebar, click 'Import':
If you recall, Squarespace was nice enough to actually export our site data in a WordPress format which saves us a lot of trouble in the migration process. Next up, in the next screen, you need to install the WordPress file format import wizard:
Once the importer has been installed, click the 'Run Importer' button:
Next, click 'Choose file', and select the file that you downloaded from Squarespace. Then hit 'Upload file and Import':
You'll now be given the option to attach images from your Squarespace export file. Unfortunately, in some cases, this might not work - and we'll need to add the images separately, so just click 'Submit'.
5. Add Images from Your Squarespace Content
After the import wizard has successfully completed, it's a good idea to run through the posts that have been automatically added to your WordPress site to see if your content has imported correctly. Because of compatibility issues between the way Squarespace and the WordPress handle XML files, images from your Squarespace site won't have been imported yet.
But not to worry! We can easily rectify that by using the "designed-for-this-exact-occasion" Auto Upload Images plugin. To install it, head to the 'Plugins' section of your sidebar and then click 'Add New'.
Search for 'Auto Upload Images' and press 'Install'. Once you've done this, click the 'Activate' button next to the plugin of your choosing.
Now, every time you edit a post, the plugin will search for linked missing images and then add them automatically to your post's gallery.
That means you need to press 'edit' next to every post migrated in your Squarespace to WordPress export. Fortunately, you can do so for every post at once using WordPress's bulk edit feature.
Navigate to the WordPress 'Posts' section on the sidebar, open 'Screen Options' and then set the number of viewed items to 999 and click 'Apply'.
This will show the maximum number of posts possible on a single screen.
Next, highlight them all by selecting the tick box at the top of your list.
Now you need to tell WordPress to perform a bulk edit by selecting 'Edit' from the 'Bulk Actions' drop-down menu, and clicking 'Apply'.
The Auto Upload Images plugin will now go through every added post and insert missing images!
6. Add Extra Content
There are several forms of Squarespace content that will not be automatically transferred by following the steps above:
- Custom audio and video blocks
- Index and folder pages
- Style elements and content with customized CSS
Sadly, there's no way out for these. To export Squarespace to WordPress for content in these forms, you will need to do it manually.
Just go through your Squarespace website and manually copy and paste content over.
Squarespace to WordPress: A Final Tip
Although it's possible to migrate Squarespace to WordPress by following the steps detailed here, you should always check each and every post that is automatically created on your WordPress site.
Depending on the nature of your content and the themes you use on Squarespace and WordPress, the automatic import process may result in severe formatting issues or missing content. So be careful!
Remember, there's no substitute for casting an eye over your migration output when switching from Squarespace to WordPress! Spotting the issues early will save you a lot of time.